One of the greatest truths we find is Scripture is that of God’s readiness and willingness to forgive us of our sins. And why, is that forgiveness so important and valuable to us? And what is involved in Biblical Forgiveness.?
Sin is lawlessness – 1 John 3:4 – Everyone who sins breaks the law. In fact, sin is lawlessness.
The blood of Jesus is the means and the cost of forgiveness.
In the Old Testament we find that animal sacrifices were offered to cleanse one of sin. But that was temporary.
Jeremiah prophesied that in days to come God would make a new covenant with His people that would offer total forgiveness – Jeremiah 31:31-34 – he says “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember them no more.”
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews talks about this temporary forgiveness and this greater forgiveness that comes with Jesus Christ’s blood. He says in Hebrews 9:15 “For this reason, Christ is the mediator of a new covenant that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”
Jesus said in Matthew 26:28 – “For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for the remission of sins.”
Jesus’ blood reconciles the estranged - those who have separated themselves from Him by their sin. Romans 5:10 – “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life.”
It is now through our Lord Jesus Christ that we have received reconciliation.
Jesus’ blood justifies those who are guilty of sin – “Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him.
Jesus” blood redeems us from the slavery of sin - and when we are living apart from God’s plan for us and going the way of the world, we are in slavery to that style of life.
In Ephesians 1:7 the Apostle Paul tells us “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”
When we think of who God is, and then think of who mankind is we can easily see that mankind is actually unworthy to receive God’s forgiveness. Going back to Romans 5, verse 8, Paul says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this --- while we were sinners, Christ died for us.” God saw value in His creation, and desires to save His creation.
And so, He sent His Son to be that ultimate sacrifice to provide that reconciliation, that justification, and that redemption which would bring His creation of man back into fellowship with Him.
The word forgiven actually means to send away, to remit, to wipe out, as Peter says in Acts 3:19 – Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out – KJV
Wiped out – blotted out – never to be remembered again.
Now, let us look at forgiveness between us – person to person.
As we go through this life, we occasionally will offend another person in one way or another. Maybe in a physical way; maybe in the words we say to them; maybe by ignoring a need they have.
God has provided instruction on how to approach those situations as well.
We can personally sin against another person. God’s instruction for these times is found in –Matthew 18:15-17 - “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Notice that there are conditions here in this. Look at the “ifs” in Jesus’ teaching here. If there is no repentance, there can be no forgiveness.
So, in both areas of forgiveness – God’s forgiveness of man and man’s forgiveness of man – forgiveness is conditioned and contingent on the sinner complying with God’s terms of forgiveness.
As Isaiah says, (1:18 – “…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
To be forgiven means to be released from the imprisonments of sin; it means to be free of guilt.
All to the glory of God. “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” Revelation 1:5